Robbie was bored. He kicked his chubby little baby legs and watched the pom poms on his booties bounce. He gurgled and sighed with frustration and then kicked his feet again. He opened his mouth to cry, but then stopped quickly when he heard his mother and sister approaching from the other room.
“But, Mommy, why?!” Annelise cried, “Why does Grandpa have to go away?”
“Oh, sweetheart,” Holly said, taking Annelise’s hand to lead her over to the couch near where Robbie’s playpen was set up. “I didn’t say he was going away. Not yet anyway, but he might have to.”
“But, why?” Annelise asked.
“Remember how I told you that Alzheimer’s is not something that people can get better from?” Holly asked gently.
“I know that, Mommy, but he likes to sit in the park so much. If he goes away, where will he sit?”
“We don’t know that yet, honey,” Holly said, “We don’t know what’s going to happen yet.”
“But I will miss him!” Annelise said.
Robbie watched as his Mother hugged his sister.
“I know you will, sweetie. I will, too,” Holly said, “If he starts wandering off on his own like he did the other day, then it’s not safe for him anymore. He could get hurt.”
“I can watch him more!” Annelise said.
“Oh, honey, Chloe appreciates all that you do for Barney, but a little girl should be able to run around and play with her friends.”
“I don’t mind,” Annelise said, in a small voice.
“I know you don’t mind,” Holly said, hugging her tighter, “And you’re my wonderful girl.”
She kissed Annelise’s head. “We will have to wait and see what Chloe and David decide to do. Whatever they decide, we will be brave and support them. We can visit Barney, too.”
“I don’t want him to go!” Annelise began to cry.
Robbie didn’t like it when his sister cried. He scrunched up his face and began to cry, too.
“Uh-oh,” Holly said, “Someone else feels bad, too.”
She bent over the edge of the playpen to pick him up. Robbie grabbed one fistful of her hair and another fistful of her soft sweater. He snuggled tight into his Mommy. He loved how his Mommy smelled and how soft she felt. He stopped crying and put his head on his Mommy’s shoulder as Holly gently bounced with him in her arms. Annelise came over to hug her Mother’s legs while she held Robbie.
“We all feel bad about Barney,” Holly said, “But his family needs to do what’s safest for him. We don’t know yet if they will be able to hire someone to help Chloe out by keeping an eye on him all the time or if they will have to send him to a nursing facility. Let’s just wait and see what Chloe tells us before we feel so sad, okay?”
“Okay,” Annelise said, wiping her tears.
Robbie tried to stick the fist that was holding his Mommy’s hair into his mouth, and Holly gently disengaged her hair from his grip. He snuggled closer into his Mommy’s shoulder as his eyes began to drift close. He really loved how his Mommy felt – soft and warm.
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